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Teachers College, Columbia University
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TC Hosts Global Meeting on Health Promotion

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International Union for Health Promotion and Education

International Union for Health Promotion and Education

The Board of Trustees of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) will be holding its annual meeting at Teachers College this week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The events will include an all-morning symposium on Wednesday, June 8th, convened by the North American Regional Office (NARO) of IUHPE, to be held in Grace Dodge 179. 

“IUHPE is the world’s largest NGO representing health promotion and education globally,” says John Allegrante, Deputy Provost and Professor of Health Education, who brought the IUHPE meeting to TC this year. “The college prepares people for careers in these fields, so we wanted to bring IUHPE here and to bring a TC presence to the meeting.”

Both the symposium and the board meeting are open to the TC community, said Allegrante, who is himself a globally-elected IUHPE board member.

Some 40 IUHPE board members will gather at the College, including the organization’s current president, Michael Sparks, a faculty member at the University of Canberra in Australia, and IUHPE executive director, Marie-Claude Lamarre, who is based in Paris, France, where the IUHPE headquarters office is located.  IUHPE maintains eight regional offices across the globe.

“The global financial crisis has negative impacts on the investments that governments make in health promotion,” Sparks has said. “It is essential that we raise the profile and professionalism of the field at this time.”

“The governing idea in planning and launching the IUHPE exactly 60 years ago was precisely the establishment between all health workers of closer links in the field of health education and the promotion of mutual understanding,” Lamarre said.  “Today, the IUHPE continues to be a unique worldwide association of individuals and organizations committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the people of the world and to reducing health inequalities created by social, political, economic and environmental determinants through health promotion, including health education, community action and the development and implementation of healthy public policy. We all feel privileged to have the opportunity to gather and work in such a prestigious environment as Teachers College, at Columbia University, in New York.”

Among the major items on the board’s agenda is Comp-HP, a comprehensive project to define the role and functions of health promotion competencies in Europe, and to build an accreditation framework for institutions that prepare professionals in the field. That effort grows directly out of a June 2008 consensus conference held in Galway, Ireland, led by Allegrante and Margaret Barry of the National University of Ireland, that focused on the kinds of knowledge now required of health education and health promotion professionals. The resulting Galway Consensus laid the groundwork for Comp-HP.

“Galway began focusing global attention on quality assurance in institutions of higher education that prepare people for health promotion and education careers,” Allegrante says. “Comp-HP creates an accreditation framework for quality assurance. This is an exciting moment, because if IUHPE gets behind this effort, European governments and agencies are likely to follow and put a system in place that could serve as a catalyst and model for the wider world.”

The NARO symposium will address the latest innovations undertaken by global health promotion experts from IUHPE and various NGOs to improve population health. Keynote speaker Karen Lee of the New York City Department of Health will describe how public health professionals have teamed up with architects, designers, and urban planners to improve building design and policy decisions to prevent chronic disease among New York City residents and lessons learned from the Fit City initiative. 

To learn more about IUHPE, visit www.iuhpe.org  

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